january 8, 2018

posted in: photography | 3

“Practice the pause. Pause before judging. Pause before assuming. Pause before accusing. Pause whenever you’re about to react harshly and you’ll avoid doing and saying things you’ll later regret.” ~ Lori Deschene

these hands (snapseed)


Today is my actual day of birth though I’ve obviously been celebrating over the past few days. Besides, nobody wants to celebrate a birthday when it falls on a Monday. So, I celebrated today a different way. I took dad to a series of doctors appointments. During his first appointment at the VA, he regaled me with stories about each scar on his hands. Many of them came from knife fights in the coal camps where he grew up. He was a gang leader, so you can imagine the rough and tumble boyhood that gave him. The most impressive scars showed the perfectly aligned indentation of an Army opponent’s teeth across his right knuckles. I don’t think dad knocked his teeth out, but I doubt the guy talked for a time (his teeth went clean through his lip). At his second appointment we met a vet from the Iraq War. He saw dad’s Special Forces hat and began to tell us about his being a Black Hawk crew chief and taking out Saddam Hussain. It wasn’t clear if he was on that particular mission, but it was obvious – physically and experientially – that he had seen combat nearby. All combat vets have scars. You can’t always see them. The other thing you can’t see is an immeasurable fortitude. Guys like dad who train for the hardest missions are tougher than we mere mortals could ever imagine; mentally and physically. If you’ve never seen two of these guys meet up, the depth of that spirit may not be obvious, but when they get to talking, you get a small glimpse of the kind of men it takes to win wars. In no way am I glorifying war – nobody wins a war as far as I can tell, not even the victors – but I am in awe of the selflessness it takes to be a combat soldier. Our Hero is one of the best soldiers this country has ever had, and hanging out with him is the best birthday I could ask for.


the eyes and the chin (snapseed)

january 7, 2018

posted in: photography | 2

“The secret to living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure.”
~ Tibetan Proverb




I had the great fortune of dining with some of my family to finish off the birthday weekend. I only get to go to Longhorn Steakhouse when mom and dad are in town, so that’s where we headed. I swear, even though they’re a chain, they make the best steaks I’ve ever eaten – and they’re consistent in that quality. Anyway, Mike Moore has a birthday four days after me (plus he’s four years younger), so I’ve dubbed him my birthday buddy. It’s a lot more fun to celebrate when there’s more than me to celebrate. I can’t think of anybody I’d want as a birthday buddy more than Mike.


Birthday Buddies by Missy Moore


This dinner with the family meant more to me than dinners in the past. I’m not sure why. I only know that I was deeply honored that they could join me. They’ve each helped me so very, very much in this life, and always when I needed them the most. So, yea, I’m still a few hours away from my actual birth date, but I’ve had the best birthday weekend I could ever want. Who knew turning 53 was gonna be so awesome?


this is us



december 25, 2017

posted in: photography | 1

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”
~ Norman Vincent Peale

six of a kind (Snapseed)


I believe dad had one of the best Christmases he’s had in 30 years. His sisters love the game Farkle. It’s a dice game mostly of chance. He played six games and won the last four. In one game, he rolled six of a kind. My aunts have played Farkle for years, but they’d never seen anyone roll six of a kind until tonight. He had an absolute blast. He woke up singing this morning and he came home singing tonight. Between that and being with sweet family, this is one of my best Christmases, too. I’m sure mom would agree. 

december 24, 2017

posted in: photography | 4

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” ~ Colin Powell

dynamic duo


Another Christmas Eve has come to the Springridge Lodge and these two crazy kids were sporting their matching UK wear that Santa brought them. Then we ate, and cooked, and ate some more. We watched Christmas movies and watched two flakes of snow fall. That last part didn’t last long. Tomorrow, we’ll enjoy more family festivities, but for tonight, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, St Nick will get to the kiddies, and we’ll wish a goodnight to all, and to all a good night. 

november 27, 2017

posted in: photography | 2

“The secret to living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure.”
~ Tibetan Proverb




There’s something about JC that dad is instinctively drawn to. I don’t know if it’s his laugh, his all-boy ways, his sweet smile, or what, but when dad sees JC there’s no one else in the room. Last Saturday, we gathered at Tony and Charlene’s for what I call Thanksgiving Part 2 (Uncle Tony called it Cowboy Chili and Soup). More of the family was there than formal Thanksgiving, and that’s a pretty good achievement. The kids had two acres to run around on in stunningly perfect weather, but JC took time out of his heavy play date to hug his buddy, Shorty. The two of them together warm my heart. 



november 26, 2017

posted in: photography | 3

“It’s not happiness that makes us grateful; it’s gratefulness that makes us happy.”
~ Brother David Steindl-Rast


gratitude with a rake


Dad is very proud of my yard. When he’s here he spends his free time raking it. It’s something he can do to feel useful, and useful he is. I have 11 trees and all but one shed their leaves in the fall. They make my yard is a big job in fall. This year I had the best help anyone could ask for. Dad and I took advantage of the beautiful weather and raked the whole yard, depositing 14 lawn bags at the curb along with a mound of leaves for the city to suck up with their giant sucking machine. When we finished he said, “You’re going to get citizen of the year for this yard.” He was so proud of the work we’d done, and he spent the rest of the day talking about it. I couldn’t have asked for a better dad. 

november 23, 2017

posted in: photography | 2

“Continue to choose hope over despair, love over hatred, and action over apathy — every single time.”
~ Kamala Harris




Soon after we returned home from Thanksgiving dinner at Aunt Lois’, dad turned to me and said, “That was a wonderful day with the family.” “Yes, it was,” I replied. “It was the best Thanksgiving since Mamaw and Papaw died.” (they died 10 days apart in April 2009) “I believe you’re right,” he confirmed. Thirty of us invaded Lois’ house. Everyone brought something to eat. We exchanged $5 gifts with one another. We laughed a lot. It was truly a wonderful day. Mission accomplished.





october 31, 2017

posted in: photography | 2

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” ~ Alan Cohen


always dad


Dad helped with Halloween. He was so excited about it, too. He waited patiently by the door until he just couldn’t stand it anymore. He bundled up and sat outside until he couldn’t stand that anymore, and then he went back inside and watched from the warmth of the recliner.


one soldier to another


He loved those kids all dressed up and running up and down the street. They were mostly neighbor children. When I first moved here 10 years ago there were no children. Now there are nearly 10 in a few houses around me. It’s absolutely delightful, and it tickled all of us to see their sweet little faces all dressed up. 


Halloween Cat


Even Lilly, perpetual Halloween cat, got in on the action. Aunts Lois and Barb, cousins Missy, Mike and Macie came over to help, too. And a good time was had by all. I’m so grateful to everyone for making this holiday one to remember.


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